Over Your Dead Body
Directed by Takashi Miike
An actor named Kosuke plays the role of Iemon in a stage version of Yotsuya Kaiden and his new lover Miyuki plays Oiwa. However, as they delve deeper into their respective performances, the line between fantasy and reality becomes obscured until the murderous, vengeful themes of the play bleed into their own relationship.
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★★★★½ review by Vanessa on Letterboxd
Rewatching Over Your Dead Body not long after The Ghost of Yotsuya was an interesting experience, not least because I was wondering how well it would hold up in comparison and how differently the two movies handled the subject matter they were based on.
I watched the extended version (I haven't seen the theatrical cut since it came out so I don't remember how different it is) and the length is the movie's strength and weakness at the same time because on the one hand there's more time to tell the story and focus on the play but on the other hand the play takes up so much space in the first half of the movie that the other storyline almost gets lost in it. Which doesn't have to be a bad thing because for people who don't know the play it definitely helps that there's so much of it in the movie and not just a few important scenes.
And I mean have you seen the stage? The design is phenomenal. If there weren't a few shots of the crew I would forget that it's supposed to be a play. When the movie returns to the actors' lives it seems boring in comparison. It's also on stage where the influences of The Ghost of Yotsuya become apparent but they're just a few nods in a mostly independent interpretation.
It takes a long time until the situation between both, the characters in the play and the actors, spiral out of control but when they do the movie gets bloody pretty quickly and ultimately there's a double payoff for the long wait with the climax of the play and one of the most gruesome and memorable scenes I've ever seen in one of Takashi Miike's movies.
I am sometimes wondering how the movie would have turned out if Miike had just done a modern version of the play instead of blending old and new but for now I'm more than happy with the result, especially because it holds up so well.
★★★½ review by matt lynch on Letterboxd
Yotsuya Kaidan Rivette-style, avenging not just the play's women but the female sacrifice pawns of hundreds of years of folk stories. like any good Miike, simultaneously rigorously controlled and playfully unruly.
★★★★½ review by Vanessa on Letterboxd
I love Over Your Dead Body but the abortion scene is too much for me to handle. This is the second time I watched this movie and it made me feel even more sick than the last time because I knew what was going to happen and I was just very alarmed for most of the time and then it finally happened and I felt sick for the rest of the movie (probably for the rest of the night too).
Also, I changed the rating from 4 to 4.5 stars because even if it's kinda gross Over Your Dead Body is a masterpiece and definitely my favourite Takashi Miike movie. I just love how the story switches between the play and the lives of the actors and merges dreams and reality.
I LOVE THIS MOVIE
★★★½ review by Mr. DuLac on Letterboxd
Sometimes I wish that the play was my real life.
Before starting this me and my buddy talked about how you never know what to expect out of a Takashi Miike film. In North America his name is associated with his more outrageous films like Ichi the Killer and Audition, but this is a director that can do anything from horror, comedies, drama, superhero films and everything in between (he even made an Ace Attorney movie!)
In fact Miike isn't even predictable when he sticks to one genre. The last three films I watched from the director were all horror films (Lesson of the Evil, Yakuza Apocalypse and As the Gods Will) and none of them had similar story structure, tone or style which brings us to Over Your Dead Body which is another departure from the three other films.
It looks like it's been compared to Audition a bit despite being vastly different, there is a very basic similarity to both films though in that it builds upon dread almost the entire film giving you no hint to what it's actually building up to. The trick is with Miike you're almost scared to even imagine what he could possibly be hurdling you as a viewer towards. If Miike is ever accused of something it's not predictability.
Not going to pretend I understood everything that was going on in this film, but it was a damn fascinating experience. The things I was a bit off on was a lot of the symbolism and it probably didn't help that you don't know if something is symbolic or it's just Miyuki losing her mind.
Miyuki (Kou Shibasaki) is an actress starring in a Samurai drama play opposite her lover Kosuke (Ebizo Ichikawa). In the film it appears that we're watching it through dress rehearsals as we go from play to reality and soon realize that the drama of their production seems to be bleeding out into their reality.
I've seen this sort of thing before, except it's usually a movie within a movie that starts to blur the line between fiction and reality, but in Miike's take on it he makes the similarities between fantasy and real life less obvious. It's also the emotions of the play that carry over more into the actors' reality and not necessarily the same actions.
One aspect that was kinda incredible to watch is that the production value of the play rivals the rest of the film. Miike presents it almost as a feature film of it's own with immaculate set designs, framing and most of all the performances. You get drawn into how the samurai drama is going to play out as much as the actors' real lives.
Of course it all builds to a head in typical Miike fashion, in that there's nothing typical about it on any level.
★★★★ review by intramuros on Letterboxd
Otro Miike de los buenos. Esta vez, el mítico director lleva a su terreno las mecánicas del cine metanarrativo (teatro dentro de cine, en este caso), inyectando más y más veneno grandguignolesco según avanza el metraje.
Pese a sus cada vez más frecuentes incursiones en el mainstream nipón, pelis como esta demuestran que tenemos del Miike que nos gusta para rato...
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